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Walter, Consultant
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Mentoring Parents on Understanding and Accepting the Challenges of Parenthood.
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A few days ago, I wrote about my 6 year old daughter in 1st

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A few days ago, I wrote about my 6 year old daughter in 1st grade, who was having difficulty reading & spelling her homework words. She seems to have suffered a set-back since kindergarten. As a matter of fact, I think she was doing better in pre-school than she is right now. I received a very good reply from Walter, for which I'm very grateful. Since then, I've caught her sucking her thumb a couple of times! (Something she never did as a baby or toddler) She attends a classroom with 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grades in the same room. When asked why she started this practice, she said that a 2nd grade boy, who is her teacher in her little group, told her to do so. He said that he wouldn't be her friend if she didn't do what he told her to do. In the classroom, they're told to obey the older students. She thinks she should do as she's told.
Should I be concerned? Should I speak to the teacher? Or is this normal child-talk? Now I think that some of the schoolwork problems might be related?



No this is not normal child talk, and its better to nip this in the bud before he orders her to do something that could cause additional problems or hurt herself. It is possible that he has told her to not learn her words, though make sure you do not accuse anyone of this just yet.


What I would suggest is you first talk to your daughter, let her know that while she is to listen to the older children about her school work she should not follow orders that are not in relation to her schooling. (Such as sucking her thumb or doing anything that would hurt her or someone else).


I would then set up a appointment with her teacher and let her know what is going on. Explain the situation about the thumb sucking and mention the trouble you are having with her work as well. Let the teacher know that while you understand the need to enlist the older students you are concerned about what these students are ordering the younger students to do. Make sure that the teacher also speaks with your daughter and lets her know that it is ok to tell the older students No when they order her to do something that is not right.


These problems she has been having may very well be related to this situation. If she feels she is being forced to do these things she may be regressing which is not good at all. The sooner you get this nipped in the bud the better. I assume the teacher has no idea that the older child is using this against the younger children so you need to bring this to her attention.



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